The Cannabis Regulatory Commission awarded licenses to 14 businesses on Oct. 15, ending the more than two-year wait 150-plus applicants endured to hear the results of the 2019 Request for Applications round.
What is an end for most is a beginning to some, with 10 businesses nabbing grow licenses and four businesses nabbing vertically integrated licenses allowing them to grow, process, manufacture and sell cannabis flower and cannabis products to the state’s more than 18,800 medical cannabis patients and, eventually, adult use customers.
Applicants approved for cultivation include Hillview Med INC., CYOURNJ LLC, and GSCC Management LLC in the state’s Northern region; NJ Nectar Ventures LLC, Noble Valley Harvest Co., Green Medicine NJ LLC, ZY Labs LLC and The NAR Group Inc. in the Central region; and Bloom Medicinals of PA LLC and Garden State Releaf, LLC in the Southern region.
Applicants approved for vertically integrated operations include Etain NJ LLC in the state’s Northern region, Altus New Jersey LLC and Holistic NJ LLC in the Central region, and Greenhouse Wellness of NJ LLC in the Southern region.
“We know how anticipated these final actions were and we are happy they are now completed,” said CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown in a prepared statement. “The awardees can now continue with the process to establish their operations. This can only be a good thing for cannabis patients and New Jersey’s fledgling cannabis industry.”
The 2019 Request for Applications drew nearly 200 applications between July 15 and Aug. 22, 2019, before several applicants alleged that a technical glitch within the New Jersey Department of Health’s portal caused them to be disqualified. After a lengthy court-ordered stay on the evaluation process and an eventual affirmation of all but one of those disqualifications by the court in February 2021 – and several changes in the state’s cannabis business landscape, including the legalization of adult-use cannabis and the change in hands of the cannabis program from the DOH to the CRC – 24 cannabis business licenses laid in waiting to be utilized.
However, because of increasing patient need, Brown proposed licensing 10 cultivation sites at the Oct. 15 meeting—five more than had been planned in 2019.
“The current alternative treatment centers have not kept pace with patient need,” said CRC Chairwoman Dianna Houenou in a prepared statement. “We constantly hear from patients that prices are too high and that there are too few dispensaries with too few product options. The situation has not changed with the legalization of recreational cannabis. Our priority is to our patients and increasing the planned number of medicinal cannabis operators in the market will greatly benefit them.”
The sole disqualification that was reversed by the appellate court in February was one of the cultivation license winners.
The 10 cultivation permits approved could potentially add 235,000 square feet of canopy to the market. The four vertically integrated awards could add another 120,000 square feet of cannabis canopy and four more retail locations.
Applications and all reward documents related to the RFA process are available at Final Administrative Decisions.
More licenses are expected to be announced in the near future.